Inno3D Geforce GT 220 Review

ccokeman - 2009-10-13 01:18:25 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: November 19, 2009
Price: $65-$79

Introduction:

After attending Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference I left with a new appreciation of what the GPU was capable of. Gaming is not the only game in town anymore. For the majority of people the computer is for more than just 'getting your frag on'. It's about watching HD content, converting and encoding media, fixing your pictures since we all are not professional photographers and of course, finding a way to clean up our poorly shot home videos. For most people that's what the computer is used for - it's used as a tool. But of course gaming is something that at least one of the family is interested in and you have to have some gaming ability to be attractive for an all around economical solution.

The inno3D GT 220 is one such card that is meant to fill the price point previously occupied by the 9500 GT. The GT 220 is built upon the 40nm GT 216 core and comes equipped with 48 Cuda cores, 16 Texture units and 8 ROP's and carries 1GB of GDDR3 memory. The use of the 40nm build process results in a low power card that uses a total of 7 watts at idle. The GT 220 is capable of sending the high definition sound and picture out through the HDMI connection, so getting the full HD experience is possible without any additional connections. The inno3D GT 220 is DirectX 10.1 and Shader model 4.1 ready and supports Physx, HDCP, and OpenGL 3.2. After testing Palit's rendition I am curious as to how the extra 512MB of memory will help this card out.

Closer Look:

The front panel of the inno3D GT 220 package features a warrior carrying two swords to grab your attention, before you notice the attributes of the card that are posted, including HDMI and Windows 7 compatibility. Along the bottom of the front panel you have a Graphics Plus panel that lists the things this card will prove useful for. These include Physx, Video and Image processing as well as 3D Stereo. The rear panel goes into greater detail on the attributes in multiple languages. Along the bottom-right there are a few icons that include the RoHS symbol that means the card is built taking into consideration environmental factors in the EU. The card is certified for Windows Vista and compatible with Windows 7.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can imagine, the contents of the package are pretty sparse since the card has added connectivity and no need for adapters or additional power cables. The GT 220 comes with an install kit that contains the driver disk and a quick start guide that covers the hardware installation.

 

 

Minimal packaging does not necessarily mean a minimal product. Let's take a look at what the inno3D GT 220 has to offer.

Closer Look:

The INNO3D GT 220 was put together to fill a void between the 9500 and 9600GT. The GT 220 is built upon a 40nm process and the core has 48 Cuda cores (processing cores), eight ROPs and 16 texture units. While the Palit GT 220 I looked at came equipped with 512MB of GDDR3 memory on a 128-bit bus, the INNO3D version comes with a full 1GB of memory. Clock speeds on this card are the bone stock speeds of 625MHz on the core 1360MHz on the 48 Cuda cores and 1580MHz(790MHz) on the 1GB of GDDR3 memory. The GT 220 as you would expect, is not a large video card and should easily fit in just about any chassis that will fit a full height video card. Even with a diminutive stature, the GT 220 still needs the use of a full size 16x PCIe port. The heatsink used on the card is a smallish circular black anodized aluminium assembly with the fan mounted right of it to keep everything cool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For connectivity on the GT 220 you get a total of three different options. You get a single dual link DVI port, a single VGA port and last but not least, you have a single HDMI port. On the back end of the card you can see that there is not a means of supplying additional power to feed this card, so it gets all of its power through the 16x PCIe slot.

 

 

Using only 58 watts the GT 220 does not need a whole lot of cooling. Even so, Inno3D installed something a little better than the oem solution to help dissipate the thermal load. The thermal interface material used on this card resembled bubble gum in both texture and the effort it took to remove it from the core and heatsink. The fan is made by Colorful and is a 70x10mm fan that uses a ball bearing instead of a sleeve bearing and pushes around 23CFM, as far as I can decipher from the specification sheet.

 

 

The 40nm core on the GT 220 features a total of 48 Cuda processing cores running at the factory default 1360MHz, eight ROPs and a total of 16 texture units. The GDDR3 memory on this version of the GT 220 is made by Samsung and carries part number K4W1G1646E-HC12. There is a total of 1GB on-board.

 

 

Will the 1GB version of the GT 220 from Inno3D offer improved performance over the 512MB version from Palit, or will the clock speeds on the overclocked version nullify that advantage?

 

Closer Look:

The inno3D GT 220 is a card that is meant to be used to help people make their everyday tasks go faster and to have a more enjoyable experience watching high definition media. Before all that happens though, you need to get the drivers installed to gain all that functionality. The disc supplied by inno3D contains the driver for the GT 220, so all you need to do is insert the disc and allow the GUI to load up and follow the directions until the process completes. Once done, the customary reboot is required. Then you are off to the races to enjoy your computing experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you talk about added functionality you have to wonder, "what the heck I am talking about"? Nvidia has partnered with a whole slew of software companies to allow Cuda enabled applications take advantage of the massive parallel computing capabilities of its graphics processors. The idea is not to replace the CPU since it does quite well in serial applications, while the GPU is more efficient in parallel applications. By having the two work together as co-processors, the work is done faster. Some of these applications you have already seen here on OverclockersClub, including Badaboom and Motion DSP's vReveal software. Badaboom allows you to transcode video to portable formats using the processing capabilities of the GPU, while the vReveal software from Motion DSP is great at fixing all of the poorly shot home videos and allows you to fix photos using its proprietary algorithms to bring clarity to blurry pictures. Having the chance to view this program in action again at the Nvidia GPU Technology Conference just reaffirmed its worth. The commercial application is great but you have to see the Ikena software that is used for law enforcement. This is the real CSI stuff where you are able to take the grainy pictures from bank and traffic cameras and pull license plate numbers out of the jumble of pixels. You can use Cyberlink's Power Director 7 that offers GPU accelerated H.264 encoding and ten Cuda accelerated effects to drop the time it takes to render projects by a wide margin when compared to the time it takes to render via the CPU alone. Of course, there are many more but this is just a snapshot of the applications available that use Cuda and GPU acceleration. One of the applications that really make use of the Nvidia GPU's massive computing capabilities is Folding @ Home, a distributed computing project that looks for a cure for many really heinous diseases that plague our lives, such as cancer, Alzheimer's and BSE. If you are interested, make sure you choose team 12772! To find out more visit the CUDA Zone

 

 

 

Another practical use for the GT 220 is to use it as a second card in your system to take care of the PhysX calculations in many of today's latest games, such as Batman: Arkham Asylum, Darkest of Days, and Resident Evil 5, so you can get all of the benefits of the effects put into the games. With the upcoming release of Windows 7, the GT 220 supports Direct Compute and drag and drop video conversion.

 

Specifications:

Model
inno3D
Process technology
40nm
Processor Cores
48
Memory Amount
512MB
Memory Interface
128bit
DRAM type
GDDR3
Graphics Clock
625MHz
Video Support
DVI. CRT. HDMI
Model
GT 220
Process technology
40nm
Processor Cores
48
Memory Amount
1024MB
Memory Interface
128bit
DRAM type
GDDR3
Graphics Clock
625MHz
Video Support
DVI. CRT. HDMI

 

Features:

 

All information Courtesy of Inno3D @ http://www.inno3d.com/products/graphic_card/gtx200/gt220.html

Testing:

Testing the Inno3D GT 220 is not a challenge so much as trying to find out what kind of gaming performance this card is capable of delivering. The computing attributes make it a card that will help improve the everyday experience of a computer for the mainstream user. To test out the GT 220 Sonic Edition's gaming credentials, I will run the card through the OverclockersClub suite of benchmarks, but you know it won't be able to deliver playable frame rates at the settings I use, so I will reduce the settings to a level that gives an expectation of playability. In reality this card will most likely find its home in a mainstream computer with a 17" to 19" LCD panel in a home office or in the family computer. Testing will be limited from 1280x1024 up to 1920x1200, with the revised settings listed at the top of each game page. 1280x1024 should be playable in all of the games in the suite so let's get to it and see if we can make it playable. Of course, overclocking will be part of the exercise. The drivers used for this test will be Catalyst 9.10 for all ATI cards and 191.07 for the nVidia cards. As comparisons I will use the HD 4670, HD 4770, a 512MB GT 220 and the GTS 250.

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked settings:

While I thought the overclock I got on the Palit Sonic edition was good the inno3D GT 220 just kept on going up and past it on the memory the shaders and the core. With nothing more than MSI's Afterburner program, I was able to reach 799Mhz on the GPU core - an increase of 174Mhz - pretty stout for a low-end card. But the core was not the only success story as the shaders took a jump all the way to 1739Mhz. This is an improvement of 379Mhz over the 'as delivered' 1360Mhz clock speed. Last but not least, the memory came up big as well, with an increase of 240Mhz. It would be nice if all cards played this nice when it came to pushing the clocks. By bumping the fan speed up, the card stayed cool only reaching 55 degrees Celsius with the big clock speed increases.

 

  1. Far Cry 2
  2. Crysis Warhead
  3. Darkest of Days
  4. Call of Duty World at War
  5. Warhammer 40,000 DOW II
  6. Batman: Arkham Asylum
  7. Resident Evil 5
  8. Left 4 Dead
  9. 3DMark 06 Professional
  10. 3DMark Vantage

 

Testing:

Far Cry 2:

Featuring a new game engine named Dunia, this game looks to be another one to stress your video card. Built especially for Far Cry 2, this engine allows for real time effects and damage. This next generation First Person Shooter comes to us from Ubisoft surprisingly - not from Crytek. The game is set in a war-torn region of Africa where there is a non-existent central government and the chaos that surrounds this type of social environment. If you have seen the movie Blood Diamond, you know the setting. Ubisoft puts the main storyline of the game into focus with these statements: "Caught between two rival factions in war-torn Africa, you are sent to take out "The Jackal," a mysterious character who has rekindled the conflict between the warlords, jeopardizing thousands of lives. In order to fulfill your mission you will have to play the factions against each other, identify and exploit their weaknesses, and neutralize their superior numbers and firepower with surprise, subversion, cunning and, of course, brute force." In this version of the game, you don't have the beautiful water, but instead the beauty and harshness of the African continent to contend with. Most games give you a set area that can be played through, while Ubisoft has given the gamer the equivalent of 50km2 of the vast African continent to explore while in pursuit of your goals. The settings used are just a few steps below the maximum in-game settings and offer a good blend of performance vs. visual quality.

 

Settings:

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

When compared to the Palit GT 220, the INNO 3D's lower clock speed proves to be a liability with the settings used in this test. You can however, reduce them further for a higher level of performance. The INNO3D GT 220 does have some serious overclocking abilities and the higher clock speeds on the memory and GPU core allow it to exceed the performance of the well clocked Palit version.

 

Testing:

Crysis Warhead is a standalone expansion pack situated in time with the story line of the original Crysis. As Sergeant "Psycho" Sykes, you have a secret mission to accomplish on the far side of the island. Along the way there are EMP blasts and aliens to contend with, as you hunt down the KPA chief. This game uses an enhanced version of the CryEngine 2.

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At stock speeds the INNO3D is the slower card, but once you lay the heat down on it it runs fast enough to come close to the performance of the HD 4670.

 

Testing:

What would testing be if you did not show both sides of the fence? In this test, PhysX was set to low, while leaving the remaining settings intact. You have seen time and again where the ATI cards suffer when PhysX is enabled. Mirror's Edge and Cryostasis are two prime examples. Darkest of Days is no different. What happens in this test shows that, although the game can be played by cards from the red team, the video effects and quality are diminished.

Game Settings:

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

The INNO 3D and Palit GT 220's run at the bottom of the pack even with the reduced settings used on these cards. The extra 512MB of memory on the INNO3D version seems to help the card overcome the higher clock speeds on the Palit version. The huge overclock helps drive performance to a higher level on the INNO 3D GT 220 bringing the frames per second up over 30 at 1280 x 1024.

Testing:

Activision's Call of Duty: World at War goes right back to the bread and butter of the franchise - WWII FPS action. In this rendition, you start off in the South Pacific and move through a series of missions that flip back and forth between the Russian front and the island hopping advance toward the Imperial Japanese homeland. Included is a mission on Peliliu Island, arguably one of the more difficult and costly battles in the Pacific theater. The gameplay in the single player mode is rather short, but the game makes up for this shortcoming in online gameplay. If you thought CoD4 looked nice, this game is amazing with the graphics maxed out playing at a high resolution. I will use Fraps to measure a section of gameplay in the Semper Fi map on Makin Island to compare the performance of these video cards.

Settings:

 

 

  

 

 

 

  

 

 

 


At 1280 x 1024 the INNO3D card delivers playable frame rates and when overclocked it shows significant improvement and is playable at 1920x1200.

 

Testing:

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II is a Real Time Strategy game that is significantly different than its predecessor, with improved AI and an improved physics engine. You can play either as a single player in campaign mode, or in a multiplayer game where Microsoft's Live ranking system can be used.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once again we see the same story. The overclocked scores are playable at 1280x1024. By comparison the 4670 delivers a higher frame count at all three resolutions.

 

Testing:

Batman: Arkham Asylum is a new game that brings together two bitter foes, the Joker and Batman. The Joker has taken over Arkham Asylum, Gotham's home for the criminally insane. Your task is to reign the Joker back in and restore order. This game makes use of PhysX technology to create a rich environment for you to play your trade.

Game Settings:

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

In Batman the INNO3D GTt220 is playable in all three resolutions. Overclocking again gives strong results with increased performance.

 

Testing:

Resident Evil 5 is the sequel to one of the best selling video games of all time. You play the game as Chris Redfield, a survivor of the events at Raccoon City who now works for the BSAA. Sent to Africa to find the genesis of the latest Bio Organic agents, you meet up with another BSAA operative and work together to solve the problem. The game offers incredible 3D effects and a co-op gaming style.

Game Settings:

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lower clocks on the INNO3D keep it a good 4 to 5 FPS slower than the Palit overclocked GT 220 but again the strong overclocking ability gives it a much needed performance boost.

 

Testing:

Left 4 Dead is a new release from Valve that leaves you as part of a group of survivors in a world where an infection has rapidly turned the populace into a zombie horde. You goal is to make it to a rescue point, all the while fighting what seems like overwhelming odds. Along the way there are safe houses where you can replenish your weapons and health. The movie 'I Am Legend' comes to mind to set the stage for this game. But unlike the movie, there are four characters and not just a lone gun and his faithful companion. The horde is not at all like the typical slow walking, foot shuffling zombie. These zombies are quick and work with the pack mentality. Your job: survival!

Settings:

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

With the settings lowered down to a level that is playable the GT 220 will let you take care of your Zombie killing urges all the way up to 1920x1200. The HD 4670 out-performs the GT 220 by a wide margin here.

 

Testing:

3DMark06 is one of the benchmarks that always comes up when a bragging contest has begun. 3DMark06 presents a severe test for many of today's hardware components. Let's see how this setup fares. The settings we will use are listed below.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

  

 

 

 
 

  

 

 

 

When overclocked the INNO3D GT 220 outperforms the HD 4670 in all three resolutions tested.

 

Testing:

Featuring all-new game tests, this benchmark is for use with Vista based systems. "There are two all-new CPU tests that have been designed around a new 'Physics and Artificial Intelligence-related computation.' CPU test two offers support for physics related hardware." There are four preset levels that correspond to specific resolutions. 'Entry' is 1024x768 progressing to 'Extreme' at 1920x1200. Of course, each preset can be modified to arrange any number of user designed testing. For our testing, I will use the four presets at all default settings.

 Settings:

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Futuremark testing the INNO3D GT 220 performs well when overclocked and beats the HD 4670 again in all three tests. It's just the lower clock speeds that hold it back at stock speeds.

 

Conclusion:

Clearly the GT 220 is not designed to give you the best gaming experience, but to allow those that spend 4 to 500 dollars on a system to enhance their graphics capabilities without spending half the cost of the system on a discrete video card. That does not mean that it cannot game, it just means you are limited in the settings and resolutions you can realistically play at. 1280x1024 should not pose any significant troubles while some of the games are playable even higher. Gaming again is not the intention for this card. It is meant to give the mainstream user who uses the computer to encode those hours of home video and the multitude of family pictures. There are plenty of applications available that enable Cuda enabled GPUS to excel at these tasks. You have Badaboom, vReaveal, Loiloscope, Photoshop and more. While the Palit sample I tested overclocked well the inno3D version reached that level and kept on going up to 799Mhz on the core, 1739Mhz on the shader cores and 1030Mhz on the memory. What this did was open up some much needed performance in games that will translate into better performance in the mainstream application usage as well. In my testing I was concerned that the smallish cooler would pose a problem but even when overclocked the temperatures never exceeded 56 degrees Celsius. The lower power consumption of this card transfers right over to lower temperatures. When I tested the Palit GT 220 I was pushed for time and did not have the opportunity to test how the GT 220 perfromed when added in as a card to do the Physx calculations. Well this time around, I went and put this card in with at GTX 285 as the primary GPU and the GT 220 as the Physx card and saw a net decrease in performance in Darkest of Days - something I really was not expecting! I lost between 2 and 3 FPS during my testing.

If you take a look at the increased performance brought to the table by overclocking, the GT 220 has a hard time competing with the performance delivered by the HD 4670 that is offered in the same price bucket at 65 to 79 dollars. This price point makes it a hard sell for those looking for an inexpensive gaming card. But this card was not built to push those limits, but to do the work that many a soccer mom does to preserve the family history in a digital format, convert media to a format usable by portable devices, or to clean up those shaky family movies. The GT 220 does these tasks well, with a little bit of light gaming thrown in for good measure. After seeing the things that the GPU is doing at the Nvidia GPU technology conference, the sky is the limit. If you can save time doing these time intensive tasks, that leaves you more time to create more memories!

 

Pros:

 

Cons: